Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats


64<                                        "LIFE   OF
mouth, had already a breadth of four leagues, and wlion
they were near the shores of Pararuma the steemnmi
would not venture farther.    Humboldt hired another
ship from a missionary, and set sail on the morning of
the 3 Oth April.    The reader may form an idea of the
hardships to  be   endured,  by   a  description   of fcho
Indian  vessel which  the   travellers hsiu now  taken
possession of.    On the back part a kind of arbour had
been made for four persons., bxit it  was BO low,  on
account of the wind, that they had to Ho stretched on
hard tree trunks, and to stretch the feet out beyond
the roof, or to sit in. a bent attitude* to gain sufficient
room.    In front sat, two and two, the naked Indiana,
who accompanied the monotonous sound  of the  oars
by    equally    monotonous    and    melancholy    Bongs*
Besides this, the ship was tilled with the collected
monkeys and birds, who, with the instruments, formed
the centre around which the hammocks were siting,
while around all this, fires had to be kept up to drive
away the jaguars.    The instruments had to share the
cotich of the travellers at night,  and whenever they
were required the travellers had to land and unpack*
Add to this the oppressive heat, and the trotiblesome
mosquitos, which the one tried to send away by a sus-
pended handkerchief, and the other by smoke.   Hum-
boldt says, when he speaks of these days, that these
hardships could only be made endurable by inborn
cheerfulness, mutual good-will, and a lively sense for
the splendours of nature.
A remarkable rising of the stream gave him the op-
portunity of investigating the levels of water. I)ming
the journey up the river the ship passed the month
of several tributaries of the Orinocco, especially
the Meta, which resembles the Danube in length,
breadth, and bulk; it passed the town of Apures,
where Humboldt visited the missions and the water-
falls, which made a deep and lasting impression on him,
In his description of these regions he vividly reflects
their physical nature; he describes a nature which per-
fectly harmonises with the requirements of his feelings,